Friday Firesmith – The Shining City on the Hill

When Ronald Reagan was President, he decided to bomb Libya in general, and in particular to send a message to Muammar Gaddafi, who claimed Reagan was trying to kill him, and that might be true. It didn’t have a dramatic effect on how Libya did business, but it did tear up some Libyan assets and it did let folk know that Reagan would shoot at you. I didn’t much like the man as President but that was one thing that Ronald Reagan did that I thought was important; those people who do not respect you ought to fear you if you are President. Reagan had a pretty good idea of what was going on around him, at least early in his presidency. There are those who say that the Libyans were tipped off. It’s interesting that there were Russian ships in the harbor at Tripoli that night and the Russian and the Libyans were pals.

Of course, Twitter didn’t exist back then, but I cannot see Reagan doing this:

We’ve gone from The Great Communicator to the Big Twit, apparently.

Reagan, when asked if he thought the Iranians, who were holding 44 Americans hostage, were afraid of him, he said, and I am paraphrasing, “We’re not afraid of them and they aren’t afraid of us” and then he smiled and said no more. The same day Reagan took the oath of office the Iranians released the hostages. I don’t see him doing anything like this:

Reagan, for all his faults in what he did in office, never came off sounding like he was a shot of espresso away from hysteria. Also, he had a pretty good rapport with Congress, except when he got caught in the Iran-Contra Affair, which isn’t relevant to this post. Reagan was smooth when dealing with opponents. His “There you go again” and “I won’t use my opponents age against him” citing “inexperience” when asked why someone younger than he might a better president. This was not classic Reagan:

Of course, while candidate Reagan was never at a loss for words and sometimes harsh with his criticism of those he was running against or those in office, Reagan was a True Believer. He would have never taken sides with any other country against someone in office in this country. He once called the regime in the old Soviet Union, “an Evil Empire”. Here’s Trump, early on, slobbering…

I’m pretty sure that whatever happened in Syrian missile attack was done with the consent and the approval of Trump’s “best friend”. Whatever has happened or will happen, none of it is going to go on without Trump contradicting what he once condemned. I’ve been watching politics since Richard Nixon was president and I cannot remember anyone holding that office who was even remotely as clueless in foreign affairs as this nutcase.

Uh huh.

I said it before and I will say it again; I never liked Reagan as a President, but the man believed in this country. Ronald Reagan, in explaining what his vision of The United States of America said we would be like a “shining city on a hill” that the rest of the world would see how a free people lived.

Mr. Trump, no one can see your vision because it doesn’t exist. You’ve taken the party of Reagan and sold it to the highest bidder. You’ve become an international joke and a national embarrassment.

You, sir, are no Ronald Reagan.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The sins of Elizabeth Rodriguez

Wow. You talk about someone having a very bad day. Elizabeth Rodriguez decided to drop three of her friends off at a stranger’s home, have them break into the house and steal things, and then sell the stuff and get a lot of money. And this was going to happen in Oklahoma, which is actually only nineteenth in the country for guns per capita with 12.3 guns per 1,000 people. That’s nearly one and a quarter guns per 100 people or a 1.23 chance in 100 you are going to meet an armed person in a break in. Or find a gun in a break in. Which really means you are as likely to meet someone who is armed, and obviously not in the mood to talk about the virtues of gun control with you as you are to get a free gun.

Zachary Peters, who happened not only to be one of those people with 1.23 guns, is also one of the people who owns an AR-15, and clearly, knew not only how to use it but when to use it and he opened up on the three guys who kicked in his door with the intention of robbing his house and taking his 1.23 guns. If the one gun you have in your 1.23 gun collection is an AR-15, you’re very likely not to have it taken from you if it’s loaded and you’re trained.

All three of these men are now dead. None of them were over twenty-one years old, the youngest was sixteen. Breaking and entering isn’t child’s play.

One of them, wounded and bleeding badly, made it out of the house and back to the car, and seeing her wounded buddy, Liz left the scene in a hurry. We can suppose she heard the gunshots.

Later, Elizabeth Rodrigues called the cops and spilled her guts. According to Oklahoma law, she can be, and likely will be, charged with three counts of first-degree murder. She is culpable because she drove the three there to rob the house and now she has to accept the consequences of her actions that day. This is a mug shot of Elizabeth Rodriguez. She is twenty-one years old right now. I wrote this, and I posted this whole thing this week so you can look into this woman’s eyes.

This is what it looks like to be terrified. Three people are dead right now because of her involvement in a crime. She left one of them to bleed out and die. A man slightly older than she has to live with the idea he’s killed three people, and Elizabeth here, judging by the look on her face, realizes that she’s going to prison for the rest of her life, at age twenty-one.

But then again, “Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The state has executed the second largest number of convicts in the United States (after Texas) since re-legalization following Gregg v. Georgia in 1976. Oklahoma also has the highest number of executions per capita in the country.” —Wiki

Personally, I think this is the kind of case the Death Penalty was made for. But then again, at age twenty-one, life without parole is one hell of a long hard road.

Either way, Liz, you bought this ticket and paid for it with someone else’s blood.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Truth About Your Government

At this point, we awaken to a new day. Finally, and likely for the last time, the group of voters that identify with the far right have been repulsed from the walls of the Capitol by their own party. They now see their leaders as nothing more than those who will give lip service to a cause while serving the status quo. The drum beat to kill off “Obama Care” in the United States of America was a rallying cry, it was a claxon call, and it was the One True Promise from The One True God.

Those running for office knew that racism and misogyny could be pulled together and mixed into a witch’s brew of victory against the most hated woman in America and a black man in the White House. Most people would not vote, didn’t think it mattered, and to get the extreme vote all was needed was a complete disregard for the truth and a candidate with money to burn and nothing to lose.

In the end, even Republicans recoiled in horror at what they had done. Like Victor Frankenstein, they turned their backs on their own monster and left him to scream alone.

Warm your hands on the fires of hypocrisy burning in Washington DC right now. The repeal of “Obamacare” has crashed and it now lies burning and bleeding out in public as Republicans who once screamed and cried about that piece of legislation being socialism come to America are scurrying back under the rocks they once stood upon to curse the rain.

Like little dogs that bark behind a fence they run yelping with the tenor that only chihuahuas or congressmen can make, when they realize they have the fight they’ve been jumping up and down for, is upon them at last. Today a lot of people who voted for the Right Wing to save them from the Left Wing are discovering that they’ve been in a circular flight pattern where the plane never lands anywhere near ideals that voters hold true.

The House never had any intentions or any plans to repeal anything and they haven’t got a clue as to how to replace it, and they never will.

Take a good hard look at your government people. This is what it looks like when it fails, fails utterly, fails miserably, fails openly, fails publicly and how it finally fails, to live up to anything and everything it has promised to give you in return for your vote.

You’ve been conned. You’ve been gamed. All this while they danced and posed and declared, and voted and voted on nothing at all, and in the end…nothing. It’s what you’ve nearly always gotten so it isn’t that bad. Like being slapped by a habitual abusive spouse, you just feel a little relieved when it doesn’t draw blood or put you in the ER making excuses for their behavior. You’ve been slapped in the face so often it almost doesn’t register to fight back.

So ask yourself this question; what was going on while nothing was happening?

You’ve been robbed again. That’s a damn safe bet.

Is America Great Again yet?

Is this the government you voted for?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Alien Lane

Today I saw something. I’m not sure what it was that I saw, but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t something that can be explained by normal human observation here on earth.

Okay, let me set the scene here…

The off ramp of I-75 Southbound, intersects with US 84 heading west and there is a traffic light there, and rightfully so. It’s the last traffic light as you leave Valdosta Georgia heading west, and once I get past this choke point, things begin to open up traffic-wise.

A little over a mile away is Rocky Ford Road, which is on the left side of the highway, and people leaving Valdosta will stay in the left lane if they’re going to turn left on RFR and you cannot blame them. There is a turn lane there, and there’s a fifth lane in the middle for t
wo-way left turns, and to the right are a lot of side roads. So, even if you get behind a RFR person you are still better off than trying to dodge the people making right turns because…  →

Seriously. How hard is it? And don’t hit your brakes, begin your turn, and then signal. We’ve figured two things out by that time. (1) Oh, you’re turning. (2) You are an inconsiderate prick.

I’ve learned never to get in the right-hand lane because no one knows how to operate a turn signal. Moreover, what is infinitely worse, is there are people whose faith in humanity, or their inability to learn, leads them into this lane, and they are constantly trying to get back over into the left lane, where I am not using my blinker because I know where to be and when to be there.

By the way, and pay attention to my thoughts on this subject because I might actually be wrong here, I aver that as long as you are in a residential area where there are blinkerless morons to your right the left lane is no longer considered the “fast lane” and a driver is not obligated to move over for faster traffic. Yes? No? Maybe?

So, this all gets us to Rocky Ford Road, and here the RFR people slow down, get over into the turn lane for their road, and then turn on their blinkers. This is also, coincidently, where the area becomes less residential and there is a grass median. It’s “median” not “medium” by the way. And the speed limit opens up to 55 from 45. And this is where it gets surreal.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m in the left lane which by now can be considered the fast lane and I ought not to be there. I get over in my lane, the slow lane, but there’s a big semi-truck ahead of me, and a white Honda in front of the big truck, and oddly, very oddly, I pass both of them while traveling at the dizzying speed of fifty-five miles an hour, in the slow lane.

I’m in the slow lane being slow. The white Honda is in the fast lane being slower. Okay, so about two miles up the speed limit kicks off to sixty-five. I’m thinking either one or two things will happen. The first is the guy in the white Honda will continue at his pace and eventually, a gap will open and the truck will go through it. Either that or the guy in the semi will get tired of the Honda and run over it. But the Honda speeds up and matches my pace.

Damn. I look back and sure enough, the Honda Guy has left just enough room between the rear of my truck and the front of his car for someone to squeeze through, if they’re brave, and there’s someone about to try it. Meanwhile, the semi is about a three point seven two centimeters off Honda’s rear end.

There’s only one way to resolve this issue and only one person seems to be willing to do so. I turn the cruise control off and hit the gas. Sixty, sixty-five, seventy, seventy-five miles an hour and I open up a gap that the line of cars stuck behind Honda guy stream through. I know better than to stick around that much traffic so I hit cruise and it’s nearly a mile before anyone catches up to me.

Five minutes later I drop down to sixty-five and then back down to fifty-five, my normal speed on the road. A couple of minutes later the truck passes me and blinks his lights at me. A minute or two after that, Honda passes me and he’s doing sixty-five if he’s alive. So what makes more sense here? He could be just a self- absorbed jerk who doesn’t notice the world around him and just doesn’t care that he’s hindering people. Or he could be a self- absorbed jerk who enjoys pissing people off because he’s a self- absorbed jerk. Or he could be an alien. He could be an alien who feeds off negative emotions from the brains of human beings and I was witness to an alien buffet.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


Friday Firesmith – The Clot

It figures that if I am in a hurry there will be something or someone that will slow me down. I run into a man I once worked with, and he’s gone downhill in a hurry. He’s got a blood clot in his leg they’re treating, and until they can shrink it or operate on it, he can’t get out and do very much anymore. The clot is a time bomb and this man knows it. He’s shopping for a broom and taking a lot more time looking at brooms than most people would. I listen patiently and ask about his garden because I know he’s got one and I know he likes talking about it. He’s good with the earth and that’s a dying craft.

I’ve got fifty pounds of dog food so self-check out isn’t an option, “Please place your items in the bagging area”. “Unexpected item in bagging area”. “Firearms are not allowed in bagging area”. “Unexpected bullet hole in talking machine, please wait for assistance.”

At the cashier’s post, there’s a problem. There’s a guy who looks like he’s about sixty trying to flirt with the cashier and she’s one-third his age, easy. He’s telling her how cute she is and asking for her number and asking her how she likes older men and she’s locked down and stopped talking to him except to tell him how much he owes. I’ve pissed off enough women in my life, never like this of course, but I know that look. If he was smart and clearly he isn’t, that look on her face ought to have him seeking out another time zone to be in or maybe even another time period, like the Jurassic.

“Your total is fifty dollars and fifty-seven cents” she repeats for the third time.

He makes a show of finally getting out his wallet and fanning some twenties out. He lays them down on the counter one at a time, and all the while he’s making this weird little snickering noise with his mouth. “That’s fifty,” he tells her and she has to reach towards him to pick the bills up. I can tell this is making her uncomfortable and he looks like he’s having the best time ever.

He dumps some change on the counter, counts it out loud, slowly, snickering all the while, rocking back and forth, and finally tells her “That’s fifty-seven cents!” like it’s a prize. Again, she has to reach towards him to pick up the change.
“I was a nickel short”, he says and hands her a quarter. She takes it and gives him two dimes but he says, “I was kidding” and she counts the change, and give him back the quarter. Her look at this point is murderous. He picks up his bags and leaves, telling her he’ll come back to see her later.

So tell me guys, have you ever had a woman do this to you, or is it just men who do this to women?

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Who Do They Love?

One of my FB friends is also a Trump supporter. He just adopted a dog who wandered off the street and into his yard. His wife was thrilled at the idea of saving the dog’s life, and oh yeah, she too is a Trump person. Both are a little rabid about their support for the president they helped elect. I haven’t asked how they feel about it now, but I’m pretty sure they would rather keep what they have than switch. This is a mystery to me, totally, and completely, but take a moment and put politics aside. Do you think they have good hearts?

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of politics how do you feel about a couple who has a strong marriage, who love one another, and who saves a stray? Can you claim they are evil or ignorant or morally bereft?

Ask yourself this of those who oppose your way of thought; who do they love? Do they have kids, pets, someone with a ring on it, someone they’re thinking about putting a ring on, do they have a mom and a dad, do they have people they love and who love them back?

I’m serious. Who are these people you so vehemently oppose and who so vehemently oppose you?

I’m not big fan of Trump at all and everyone knows this, but the level of noise versus signal has reached a point where there is no discussing anything anymore without it breaking down into something that drunk third graders couldn’t pull off at a meth party where everyone was bobbing for shots of tequila in an eighteen-gallon tub of Dragon’s Milk beer. Is this the way to select out leaders? Is this the way to separate the wheat from the chaff?

How’s this working for us right now?

The next chance you get to do battle with someone, why not lay out some ground rules first; find three things about that person you think is worthy of respect. You think it’s hard to debate someone you respect? I think it would be easier, actually, and when you admire a man for saving a dog’s life, and his wife for being thrilled about it, then it’s harder to go low and easier to raise the bar for how you treat someone you’re speaking to about a subject that’s damn important.

Our country was cobbled together by men who owned slaves yet believed in freedom. It was sewn together by men who believed in equality but wouldn’t let women vote. It was put together to raise our species away from the yoke of oppression and tyranny of a king, yet white male landowners were the only people allowed to vote on this.

It’s a contradiction yet it still worked. It is still working, to a degree, and I much rather be in this country with this president than in most other places on earth ruled by most anyone else.

Until we find a way to talk to those we oppose in a manner that generates a true understanding and genuine respect I fear we’re going to become a house divided and nothing serves the rich more than the poor fighting among themselves for the scraps.
Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Education

One of the most troubling aspects of our current state of mental affairs is we are losing our ability to understand time. It takes the first sixteen to eighteen years to lay the educational foundation a child needs to be able to compete intellectually with students from other nations. This is not a question of religion, or belief, or culture, no, this is a matter of hard science, mathematics, literacy, and an understanding of biology that exists outside the realm of cultural convictions.

We’ve lost our grip on the future of our children in exchange for the temporary satisfaction of recent elections. Having lost the understanding of educating children we have forfeited the advanced education that those children might have achieved as young adults, and therefore any value we might have received as a nation from having well-educated professionals leading us into the future.

Damnably, our inability to imagine and secure the future will do very little but acerbate this critical issue with each cycle of every public school that churns out yet another former student who has never used critical thinking, logic, or peer review to make a decision but rather depends on how well liked an idea is before acting upon it.

The process of reversing this trend will take decades and it will require that we stop using our public schools as day care centers. It will require that parents sacrifice their time and energy to help educate their own children and it will require that those parents respect the potential future that each teacher holds in the classroom.

In just two years’ time, we will see a derogation of the public school system that will he unheralded and unheard of, and it will mark the true beginning of the end of our society’s commitment to educating children in America.

The sad thing about this is there are those who will say, “Good Riddance!” to a system that has been failing for years. Yet even a comparatively short gap in the effort to educate children will be, logically, worse than a system that is not fully functional. Those children, even if those children represented a small minority, who would survive and prosper under the current system would be forever lost or at the best have their education diminished.

The public education system in this country is failing and there is little doubt about that at all. Yet to turn it over to the states from the federal government is to invite Balkanization at the very best and outright segregation at the very worst. The ideal of the same education, or the very much the same, has to be preserved from the ghosts of “separate but equal”. But until we can remove the status of universal day care from the public schools, and fully insert the parents as willing partners in educating their own children we are well on our way to becoming a nation whose citizens will slowly become so ignorant and complacent that we will be looking up at the education systems of Albania and Kyrgyzstan.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – Divorce Papers

Today I went into a store and there behind the counter, facing away from me, was my ex-wife. What was my ex doing in Boston Georgia? What was I doing in Boston Georgia? That’s a long story, really, but I thought about simply backing up through the door I had just entered and walking away. But then again, it’s been fifteen years this year since the divorce was final and legal, and it was a few months longer since it was over, even if it was not final and legal. Odd, isn’t it? We’ve bought into the idea that the government can decide when something is final, even after it is over.

In the beginning, when there was the first conversation with a lawyer, he told me that whatever else happened, if that woman was killed by snake bite, lightning strike, or abducted by aliens, I was going to go to prison for it. He’d done this before and seen things go horribly wrong, and the husband in the middle of a divorce is presumed guilty until Jesus and six disciples can all sign an affidavit affirming innocence and they can all pass a drug screening. I decided not to drink until I was legally single again. It’s was fairly easy because I was broke.

What I cannot prove happens but I have seen happen more than once, is that the two lawyers get together and decide how long they can make it last. Mine lasted five months. My lawyer made money off the case even if I called to ask him what the hell was taking so long. Her lawyer got shafted because she didn’t have any money and didn’t get any from me. Long story there, really.

I never did anything that was mean or hateful and I let her live with me rent free until she found a place of her own. After it was all over with she did something I don’t talk about to this day, and she’s lucky not to have gone to jail for it, or have someone beat the hell out of her, or maybe even both. “It was supposed to be funny but it got out of hand”, she told me. Yeah. Right. But at the end of all things, it was her way of trying to reach me again, emotionally, like the last bit of beer in a bottle that is made of spit that’s made up of beer, and the two mixed together are something no one ever wants to own up to creating.

Today I decided to make peace with the past and speak to her. This was an odd feeling, not unlike the day I asked for the divorce, or told her it was going to be, and just as I started to speak the woman turned around and it wasn’t her at all. She looked at me oddly because I must have had a really strange expression on my face.

It’s been fifteen years and I can’t get that taste out of my mouth.

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Friday Firesmith – The Sins of Lady Gaga

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, who goes by the stage name, “Lady Gaga” isn’t body shy. She’s appeared in various stages of nudity on stage and off since she became famous after her debut album burned holes in the charts back in 2008. Gaga has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights, human rights, and more or less has used her fame to advance the cause of equality. Unlike some celebs, Gaga has managed to avoid falling over in public because she was too drunk to stand up and her love life seems nearly tame in comparison to some of those people who pretend to be singers.

Let me address the issue of this person’s voice before we go any further, please.

Even if you hate pop music, and I don’t, you have to admire the quality of this woman’s voice and the skill with which she displays her talent. You know what? That’s just about all that really needs to be said about a singer. Does she have it or does she not have it? Gaga has it and she knows how to use it. That ought to be the end of the story right there when it gets right down to it, right?

This woman slayed the halftime show at the Super Bowl. She was energetic, creative, very motivated, hit all her hits at high points, and apparently, there were some people out there who said that all of this was ruined because Lady Gaga had gotten “fat”.

It’s that belly bulge that freaked some viewers out and they thought it was a shame that at age thirty, Gaga was already beginning to spread out a bit.

So f%$#ing what?

Here is an artist who clearly has the physical ways and means to jump off a rooftop glide down to the stage, knock out a nonstop performance while dancing, all of this after hip surgery earlier in the year, and there are those who scream “FAT!” the second any woman less than one hundred pounds shows flesh not in the last stages of anorexia.

But here’s something to chew on, for those of you who chew the fat.

This is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Joanne to her friends and family, without makeup. She posted a series of naked face photos to take down some of the walls women face each day when they have to live up to the expectations set by people whose heads are clearly somewhere other than up in reality.

I’m pretty much sick to death watching women trying to compete with photoshopped versions of human females in order to feel good about who they really are.

Playboy let this one slip by the editors (no navel). It’s what we’ve become’, a species who would rather worship an unobtainable ideal rather than a real woman’s body, with all the flaws, scars, and aging that comes with a human being going through life. A woman’s body ought to show how she’s lived not what a computer can do for it.

If you can’t love that then I suggest you and your right hand get engaged because that is where you are headed, Bro.


Take Care,


I think someone’s standards of body image may have gotten a little too high. Or unrealistic.


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.
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